Friday, June 4, 2010

Hot Wax and Speed Zones

In Medieval times a common form of punishment was torture. A wide (and rather creative) array of methods, machines, and tools were invented for various degrees of pain and public humiliation. In England for instance, drawing and quartering an individual was a popular practice that was often done for large crowds (the disembowelment and ultimate beheading of a person was the modern equivalent of dinner and a show). Another very widely used form of torment were chastity belts, which women were regularly expected to don in order to give their future husbands and families a semblance of security that her purity was indeed intact rendering her a much more valuable bargaining chip when negotiating her potential marital union. Being a history buff, I have seen multiple examples of the wrought iron thongs, and I would have to say, I would rather be drawn and quartered.

While such methods are no longer practiced today, there have been new rituals invented to take their place. And while ancient forms of torture were regularly acted out on the accused, we as modern women seem to willingly seek it out. I am of course talking about, waxing. Women routinely have their hair follicles ripped from their skin while a perfect stranger (usually named Ingrid or Olga) with a very heavy accent contorts our lower bodies into exposing and uncomfortable positions. After the warm sticky wax, compromising positions that would make a Chinese gymnast blush, excruciating pain, and hours of red bumpy highly sensitive skin, we are expected to pay them for this service and tip them well.

Personally, I had never bought into this. I couldn’t see the sense in paying someone to tend to that area. But I began to notice that more and more women are beginning to liken this experience to a trip to the dentist, as regular maintenance. On a recent shopping trip with my Mom I had it brought to my attention that my “area” could use a little “control”. I was of course doing the one thing that most females dread, swimsuit shopping. Much like the chastity belts of yore, swimsuits are an uncomfortable form of female bondage popular to our era. The spandex prisons are by nature frighteningly unflattering on the wrong form and unsettlingly exposing. Lately I have noticed the stretchy material cutting into the softer regions of my body creating lumps and rivets in places I don’t want others to see. I resemble a lycra hotdog that been overstuffed – and if anything is going to maintain my chastity, it’s being seen in public in one of those.
At first I found it insulting that my Mother would make such an observation, but then I took a good look at the region. To add insult to emotional scaring, my Mom asked me if I wanted to go with her on her next appointment. The idea of being taken along on a hot waxing trip, was more than I could bare (no pun intended). So instead, I took down the name and number of the salon and promised to make an appointment.

I am afraid of salons. They are actually a phobia of mine. They are a collective hive of overly maintained women doing their best to defy nature at all costs. My fears only compound when one or more of these women begin offering up life advice and gossiping about anything and everything. Of course this visit would do nothing for my terror because I was bringing myself (willingly) to have a very sensitive area of my body thrashed. My appointment was difficult to book because the Ukrainian woman who is their specialist liked to book her own appointments,

“Ees for wax, da?” She had a very deep voice that dripped from the back of her throat and rolled into pronunciation.

“Yes” I answered meekly “It’s my first time, so I don’t really know what to have done, or what to ask for…” She let a long pause hang uncomfortably for a few seconds,

“Ees fierst time, da?”

“Da” I answered, “I’m Mona’s daughter”

“Aaaaaaah yees, Mona, she viery lovely, viery hiery” Already I was squirming with too much information, and feeling slightly exposed “eef you like Ma, den you need full hour.”

“An hour?” I squeaked.

“Da” She repeated. She rattled off a date and time, which I wrote down and to my horror realized it was that afternoon. Of course her “office” was as clean and sterile looking, with a couple of half-baked attempts to make it look more personable (a trickling fountain and a picture of a fuzzy kitten, which I’m assuming was the only hairy pussy apparently allowed in that room). She pointed to me and asked,

“What you like?”

“Oh gosh, I don’t know…” She looked at me shrewdly and answered,

“You want same as your mother? Landing strip wis Playboy wax?” I have been told in the past that I have my Mom’s eyes, her cheekbones and her laugh, but I really didn’t want to share her bikini line. Besides hearing that my Mom ordered something with “Playboy” in the name, was just about enough for me.

“Streep!” She ordered.

“Streep?” I asked “as in Meryl?”

“Your pants! Remove.” She stumbled over the word remove, but miraculously she managed to maintain her dominance in the situation. I blushed fiercely and began to sloooowly undo my belt. With my ears burning and every ounce of my dignity gone, I hopped up on the cold stiff table covered in crinkly paper and looked up at my oppressor. I tried to focus on the ceiling cracks, but as soon as the warm goo touched my inner thigh, I knew there was no turning back. With each rip tears would form in the corner of my eyes. With a powerful thrust, she lifted my leg into the air and began spreading wax on an area that I really only ever intended to have treated nicely.

“No!” I cried “I don’t think I want to have that area done, I don’t think I am ready!”

“Yees, must do! Thees is ugly, must Metch!” Since she already deposited the wax, I knew I was doomed so with a whimper of anticipated pain, I let her continue. Once she stopped, I looked down, only to see a red and throbbing exposed area.

“You go home now, buy Bikini Zone and seet down” I couldn’t really argue, or mutter a cohesive sentence at this point. “Hurry! Go get, or you heav ingrown heirs I heav to pull out!” I worte a check (complete with tip) and stumbled out to my car, all the while VERY aware of my “area” and the pain it was in.

I wasn’t fully aware of my diminished driving capacity on the trip home until the red and blue lights flashed behind me in a hail of siren noise. I glanced in my rearview mirror long enough to see the cop motioning me to pull over. I began to panic, I didn’t know what I had done and my vajayjay was beginning to burn in protest t it’s denim prison. He seemed to be taking his own sweet time even getting to my window and I began fidgeting. When he finally got to my window he leisurely leaned over and asked,

“You know how fast you were going?” In truth, I didn’t. I hadn’t even thought to check my speedometer, so I shook me head in response to his question.

“You know what the speed limit here is?” he questioned. Again I found myself at a loss, and again, I shook my head no.

“Well you were going 50 and the limit’s 35” he said while searching my face for a spark of recognition, the only thing I actually did recognize at that moment was the growing ichiness going on in my nether regions. “What’s a girl like you rushing off to?” He questioned.

“Home” I mumbled.

“Well maybe you outta think about slowin’ it down a notch, after all, life is too fast. You should slow down and enjoy it.”

I don’t know what it is in me that snapped, but from somewhere inside I felt a break. I literally could feel my left eye twitching in anger at his blatant disregard for my time and my obvious need to get the hell out of there. I found myself leaning out of my window and making direct eye contact with Officer Slowdown and said in my most measured tone,

“Look, I know as a man you probably will never understand the reason behind my rushing, but I have to get home so that I can buy some industrial strength anti-inflammatory cream to apply where I have just had a full wax…including lips. In layman’s terms, I need to get home NOW so that I can go home and ice down my once hairy taco.”

For a horrifying moment, I feared he would spontaneously combust, but instead he drew in his breath, stretched upwards and lurched towards his car. It is the first and only time I have ever talked myself out of a ticket.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Mommy-Hood

Something I have noticed recently is the alarming amount of life altering announcements that I seem to be receiving from friends and colleagues in my age group. These would include engagement announcements, wedding invitations, baby showers, and divorces (a Mormon friend who got married in high school so she could have sex on prom night). As the rest of my peer group seem to be moving swiftly in to adulthood, I can’t help but feel a bit behind. I am apparently suck in limbo.

Whether limbo is an immediate distraction right out of college, the grey matter that exists as we tumble through our mid-to-late twenties, the catholic equivalent to hell, or the drunken ice/back-breaker at parties, it is quite an uncomfortable position to be in. Especially when it is brought to your attention that the gap is ever widening. I had been doing my best to ignore that little voice inside telling me to pick a future, find a mate, blah blah blah. However what was once a nagging inclination, is now becoming a screaming modulation alerting me to the breadth of the situation (and that was just my mother).

The trigger I believe came when I opened my mail to discover that my dorm-neighbor in college was “with child” and due in June. It didn’t surprise me that Josie was pregnant (I don’t think anyone within three doors of her room was shocked), what blew our minds was that she not only knew who the father was, she married him. Never one to turn down a name brand item, Josie had undoubtedly registered her bundle of joy at all the finest baby boutiques in Seattle. I barely had enough for the month’s rent and food let alone a Diaper Jeanie from Bed Bath and Beyond.

I chose to ignore that I had not been invited to their nuptials or to the reception after, and instead focus on the fact that I now had to hunt down a gift. Entering into stores which cater to those who are making life-altering changes is always something I have to prepare myself for. It’s bad enough that I have to consider shopping at a facility with a name like “Bridal Barn” or “Baby Barn” or “Discount Divorce Hut” (pay for two and the third is free), but to walk freely among those who assume that I am there for the same reason they are is grim. As I pass the numbers of squealing brides and mommies-to-be I am ever aware that I have no business being in these places.

This morning I drug myself to “Babies R Us” after my full work dayto spend my hard earned single salary on something Josie’s kid couldn’t choke on. I really wasn’t prepared for was the frightening scene unfolding in the parking lot. I was faced with an endless sea of SUVs and Mini Vans all vying for the last available parking spot, and these women were out for blood. After about 3 lengthy laps around the lot, the parking gods took pity on me and blessed me with spot about 3 miles from the store. The only catch was that I had to wait for the woman to unload her cart, strap in her kids, load up her crap, move her cart, distribute various juices and snacks to her obviously starving children, and back out. I of course followed parking lot protocol and stopped my car with enough room for her to get out and proceeded to turn on my blinker, indicating that this was indeed my parking spot. As I waited I became aware that a rather large SUV was encroaching on my cars rear end. I hoped that “Objects in Mirror are Closer then they Appear” was merely a decorative statement. After trying to mount my car, the woman driving decided that it was not obvious that I should’nt be in her way. She began honking her horn for 20 second intervals and yelling from inside her car. My first intonation was to get the fuck out of there, but then I realized that this is a public parking facility and I therefore was doing no wrong in waiting for this spot. This of course did not sit well the SUV woman, and she decided to open her car door to better alert me to her anger and colorful vocabulary. While shouting obscenities and honking her horn we had drawn ourselves a little crowd, all wondering if I would stand my ground, or if the scary eyed SUV-Bitch would drive me away.

In the end the woman giving up her much coveted spot shot me a look of utter horror and pity, while speeding up her departure. I of course took the spot, and the ungraciously defeated SUV honked her horn for a good 30 seconds before proceeding on her way. These were mommies?

I hiked to the entrance of the store after shelling out a couple of dollars worth of loose change to various beggars (probably fathers who had been separated from their herd and were now forced to wander the parking lot for life), and found myself in another world. Some kind of strange music played which seemed to be an odd hybrid of elevator music and whale songs, and everywhere I looked there were people expecting children, dragging children, holding children, or fussing over children. I was all alone in a sea of bodies. I fought my way to the customer service desk and obtained a copy of Josie’s lengthy registry, and began my journey into the unknown.

While looking for a clip on accessory for the “Jolly Roller Stroller” a woman’s voice volunteered,
“Those are really helpful for entertaining, but they aren’t machine washable, so beware.” I turned around to find a smiling woman about my age with a child strapped to her belly in what looked like a primitive version of a Lycra torture device. “I almost went nuts trying to entertain little Tailor, until we found the baby Sling-o-Rama” She then rested her hand on the torture device for emphasis “Now, he mostly sleeps and gurgles, it’s wonderful being a Marsupial Mom. Well good luck to you!” She then waved and departed as quickly as she’d shown up leaving me to contemplate Marsupial Motherhood there in the stroller isle.

Women form all angles were smiling at me, offering me advice and showing me how things worked. They were more then willing to follow me around and make sure that I found the best of the best as far as baby accessories went. Then it dawned on me, they weren’t helping me out of the kindness of their hearts, they were assuming that I was one of them! I began to feel ashamed that it wasn’t “baby weight” I was carrying around, it was my very own “baby fat”. All I wanted was a colorful unisex semi-engaging novelty which could pass as a decent gift, and now I was one of them. At first I played along, cooing at all the fun toys, faking rapture at the delicate baby books, and virtually salivating over the astounding advancements in breast pump technology. Then some woman named Gale began to regale about the joys of her first birth. The endless contractions, her water breaking all over the car seat, the drugs needed to keep her from gnawing her husbands hand off, the ripping of her genitals, the stitches needed, the right kind of stretch mark cream, etc. I found myself tightening the imaginary noose around my neck in anticipation of this day. Then everyone chimed in with stories of how much weight they gained, what foods they craved, how submissive their husbands were, the bloating, the gas, the hormone surges, the mood swings...and I had to get out. Motherhood was a club that I was not only unprepared for, I wanted no part of it whatsoever. Just as I felt the floor begin to spin underneath me, one of the mommies turned to me and asked,

“When are you due?” Suddenly all eyes were on me, expecting me to gush with rapt enthusiasm over the next nine months of imminent torture. I had two choices, to lie and sign myself up for jamboree classes starting in 3 to 6 months, or I could simply say,“Oh, I’m not pregnant…” The mommies began to step away slowly all looking at me with measured anger. So I did what any other human would have done in a situation where I was obviously outnumbered by other Marsupials “yet, but we’re hoping soon!” The crowd breathed a sigh of relief and gave me numbers to their doctors so I could consider envitro 'should it come to that'.


I have begun to notice an odd trend in our customers which baffles me to no end. For some reason the most interestingly adorned and freakishly decorated individuals always and without fail order the most boring drinks. You would think that because their outward appearance is so deliberately chosen to shock, offend, or possibly sicken others, that they would want to continue this trend in their food choices.
You know, like ordering a twenty shot espresso and asking us to give our finger a little nick to add some of our own blood. But no, no membranes, or mucus, or even additional shots. For the most part they’ll order drip coffee or an Americana. No bells, no whistles, and no frou-frou additions. Which I guess in today’s world of sugary-fatty-instant-Kentucky-fried-gratification, having straight coffee, is in fact quite bohemian.
This morning, I decided to ask one of our regular freaks why this was. I mean, there had to be a reason. The first decorated individual who always shows up in the morning, is named Jane and she is a true piece of work. A masterpiece in her own right. Her head is shaven (ala Shinade O’Conor) and adorning her melenous dome is a multitude of colorful tattoos which range from skulls and cross-bones, to Muppet Babies. Her ears have more metal then the frame of my car, and in her left earlobe there seems to be a silver steak driven all the way through. Her cloths always contain at the very least one clashing pattern or color, which if you stare directly at it, will render you temporarily stupid. And, as a matter of principle, I think she always has at least one curse word printed on her at all times. This morning her shirt was another wonder of verbal brilliance, in it’s simplicity sporting the
word “cunt”, and was paired with a neon kilt, completed by leg warmers and calf-length combat boots.
Every piece of fabric was torn and/or filthy with bobby pins gouged into the free spaces. Her makeup seemed to be a cross between Kiss and Marilyn Manson. In fact, I think she could have given those guys tips.
She must have a steady source of income though (tattoo artist, side show attraction, lion tamer?...), because she came in every day and she would tip us nicely. Her answer to my query over the simplicity of her
drink, and she answered,
“Gee, I don’t know. I just never really liked any of that other weird crap people put in their drinks...just seems so unnatural to put that in coffee.” This coming from the woman who houses enough metal to be legally declared a pubic construction site. She continued, “besides man, I never liked doing what every other yuppy asshole is doing, I’d rather be an individual then let someone tell me how to be.”
She grinned at me, and I noticed she had strategically blacked out four of her bottom teeth with a magic marker, again displaying her disdain for the mainstream (though dental miscomformity was a new form of rebellion to me).
However, I did admire how Jane liked to be so different from what society dictates as “normal”. But just as I was beginning to take on a substantial form of respect for her individuality, Jane bent over to tie her laces as she was leaving, and I noticed a label protruding from her grotesquely colored skirt that read “Calvin Klein”...I don’t think I need to point out the irony.